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Passage of time could determine charges in woman's death

Prosecutors examining the death of a woman who was shot and rendered quadriplegic by a jealous ex-boyfriend in 1999 say a little known law and the passage of time could be factors in determining whether homicide charges are filed in the case.

Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II on Wednesday said his office is still looking at the potential pros and cons of trying 24-year-old Jorge Manuel Medina for the death of Elida Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 24, died in November last year at a nursing home in Orange County. She was paralyzed from the neck down after Medina shot her on Oct. 22, 1999 in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Merced. Medina is currently serving a 35-year-to-life sentence for attempted murder in the case.

Morse said his office is weighing whether filing homicide charges against Medina would result in a more severe conviction than his current prison sentence. “We must be very cautious that we don’t take one step forward and two steps back, in terms of how he would plead this,” Morse said. “You have to consider the possibility that a jury could come back with something less than he already pled to.”

For more about this story, read Thursday's Merced Sun-Star.